There is a general political connotation for ‘inner-circle’ and ‘outer-circle’ in organizations. Someone who is considered to be in the inner-circle of the leader is perceived as someone who has done some manipulation to become a part of the coterie.
But let us admit; as human beings don’t we take a liking towards some people and feel more at ease with them? What is wrong if we find such comfort in interpersonal relationships? What is wrong if leaders also experience same preferences to work with certain type of team members?
The people inside the inner-circle of the leader will surely experience greater access; increasing delegation, freedom and empowerment; they enjoy greater trust. All of this will result in greater alignment and a more comfortable working environment. So, what is wrong in having an inner circle?
It is true that those who end up in the outside the inner-circle may experience differential treatment; they may not feel trusted; they may feel alienated. But they need to realize that most of the members start in the outer circle and find their way into the inner-circle over a period of time.
What can you do about it if you are in the outer circle?
Followers need to understand what leader expects from them and to what extent they can align; if they demonstrate such aligned behavior consistently, they can find a path into the inner circle.
On the part of the leaders, it is important that they do not over-discriminate the outer-circle people. They need to still treat them with dignity and help them to align better.
While time will determine who will be in the inner and outer circles, opportunity to work towards the inner-circle must be available for all!
Dr. Raj, CEO,
HR Footprints Management Services Pvt. Ltd.
Follow Dr. Raj on Twitter @drraj29